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Boarding School Healing Totem Pole & Dena’ina/Haida Potlatch

October 22, 2023

On behalf of the Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC) board and staff, we invite you to the historic raising of a Boarding School Healing Totem Pole and a Dena’ina/Haida Potlatch to follow.

The Boarding School Healing Totem Pole is the first totem pole dedicated to all Alaska Native Boarding School survivors and descendants, and our Ancestors who did not return home. The totem pole was carved in 2023 at the Alaska Native Heritage Center by Haida Master Carvers Gidaawaan Joe Young and Sgwaayaans TJ Young. The concept of this pole was brought forth by Tlingit/Tsimshian/Haida Elder Norma Jean Dunne. The theme of the pole and potlatch are in memorial and honor of all relatives impacted by the boarding schools and our collective healing moving forward.
Pole description from the carvers:
The healing totem pole depicts Bear mother who can be seen clutching her two cubs, while the father (in human form) sits above her, embedded in Raven’s tail. Above him, Raven is mid-transformation, at a place in between human and a Raven form. Two children rest comfortably in Raven’s ears.

Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC)

8800 Heritage Center Drive
Anchorage, AK, 99504
(907) 330-8000

A living cultural center that promotes active observance of Alaska Native culture and traditions.